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Killing the Black Dog A Memoir of Depression

Les Murray

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374181063

9780374181062

Trade Paperback

96 Pages

$13.00

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In 1988, shortly after moving from Sydney back to his birthplace in the rural New South Wales hamlet of Bunyah, Les Murray was struck with depression. In the months that followed, the "Black Dog" ruled his life. he raged at his wife and children, ducked a parking ticket on grounds of insanity, and begged a police officer to shoot him rather than arrest him. For days on end he lay in despair, a state in which, as he puts it precisely, "you feel beneath help."
 
Killing the Black Dog is Murray's recollection of those awful days: brief, pointed, wise, and full of beauty in the ways of his poetry. The prose text—delicately balanced between personal and informative—gives a glimpse of the imprint that depression can leave on a life. The accompanying poems show their roots in his crisis—a crisis from which, he reports toward the close of this poignant book, he has fully recovered. "My thinking is no longer jammed and sooty with resentment," he recalls. "I no longer wear only stretch-knit clothes and drawstring pants. And I no longer seek rejection in a belief that only bitterly conceded praise is reliable."
 
Killing the Black Dog is a crucial chapter in the life of an outstanding poet.  

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Praise for Killing the Black Dog

"Killing the Black Dog is a cruel and terrifying book, and also wonderfully instructive. I recommend that you take the chance."—Jim Harrison

In the Press

'Taller When Prone' and 'Killing the Black Dog' by Les Murray - Book Review - NYTimes.com
The depression that the poet Les Murray suffered, detailed with self-effacing honesty in his memoir, "Killing the Black Dog," informs the humor in his new collection, "Taller When Prone."
Les Murray and the Poetry of Depression - NYTimes.com
The Australian poet Les Murray offers a memoir of his depression, and a new book of verse.

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Les Murray is the author of twelve books of poetry. His collection Subhuman Redneck Poems received the T. S. Eliot Prize, and in 1998 he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, presented by Queen Elizabeth II. He lives in New South Wales, Australia.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Les Murray

  • Les Murray is the author of many books of poetry. His collection Subhuman Redneck Poems received the T. S. Eliot Prize, and in 1998 he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, presented by Queen Elizabeth II. He lives in New South Wales, Australia.
  • Les Murray Copyright Peter Solness
    Les Murray
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